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Mid-America Transportation Center

Mobility and Accessibility of Hispanics in Small Town and Rural Areas

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Miwa Matsuo (miwa-matsuo@uiowa.edu 319-335-0501)
  • Project Status
    Complete
    About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    This project examines mobility and accessibility difficulties that Hispanic populations in small town and rural area are facing, using Iowa as an example. I will conduct a mail-in survey and telephone follow-up interviews on Hispanic population around these four towns in Iowa: Marshalltown, Columbus Junction, West Liberty, and Carroll. The survey examines who in the Hispanic community suffers from mobility limitation and how much informal mobility support is provided within the community. It will also investigate barriers for Hispanic population to using public transit services. After the survey, I will follow up with telephone interviews to identify more detailed travel diary data to specify the needs for transportation services.
    Research Objective
    The Hispanic population is rapidly increasing in the U.S., particularly in nonmetropolitan counties in the Midwest and South (Kandel and Cromatie, 2004). Non-metropolitan Hispanics are at high risk of low accessibility because of the built environment and cultural barriers. Sociologists, planners, and public health researchers have already documented that rural areas offer less accessibility than urban areas. Inaccessibility of the location becomes even worse if people are low-income or have socio-cultural barriers in receiving assistance. This research reveals mobility and accessibility concerns of rural Hispanics to provide knowledge for future transportation
    Potential Benefits
    This project focuses on sustainable transportation for small town and rural America, including economic, equity and environmental issues. Through exploring hidden demand for transportation services, regional transit operation may be able to enhance the cost-effectiveness of the services. In addition, findings may suggest ways to better meet the needs of the Hispanic population, as well as others that typically have not been served in the past. Last, a better understanding of hidden demand may help streamline transit services and reduce unnecessary vehicle miles of travel through few automobile trips.
    Abstract
    The Hispanic population is rapidly increasing in the U.S., particularly in nonmetropolitan counties in the Midwest and South, including Iowa (Kandel and Cromatie, 2004). The status of non-metropolitan Hispanics raises concerns about their accessibility because of the low-density built environment and socioeconomic factors that may reduce their mobility. Hispanic people in rural areas generally have lower income than non-Hispanic whites, and they also face language barriers in receiving public assistance.

    This project examines mobility and accessibility difficulties that Hispanic population in small town and rural area are facing, using several manufacturing areas in Iowa as examples. Specifically, I will conduct a mail-in survey and telephone follow-up interviews on Hispanic population around four towns in Iowa: Marshalltown, Columbus Junction, West Liberty, and Carroll. The survey will examine who in the Hispanic community suffers from mobility limitation and how much informal mobility support is provided within the community. The survey will also investigate barriers the Hispanic population faces in using public transit service or public fund for transportation. After the survey, I will follow up with telephone interviews to identify more detailed travel diary data to specify the needs for transportation services. All the process will be planned and conducted with a Spanish-speaking research assistant hired by the grant.

    From literature and preliminary interviews, I would expect that Hispanic families have difficulty in getting access to goods and services for their daily needs. Since the proportion of senior citizens is small in these Hispanic communities, the main source of troubles would likely be scheduling vehicle usage between commuting and discretionary trips, particularly related to children. The final product of my project would be a quantitative analysis of the survey result to illustrate mobility and accessibility of rural Hispanics, and a qualitative analysis of their barriers in using public transportation services.
    Project Amount
    $ 34,271.85